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3 - Orchestrating a White Wine Revolution

Merchants, Farmers, Co-operatives and Consumers, c. 1940–1962

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2024

Paul Nugent
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This chapter addresses the rapid increase in the consumption of white wines in the 1950s. It traces some of the changes to the efforts of the wine companies to develop the consumer market through brand building. But the breakthrough came with the perfection of the method of cool fermentation that permitted the preservation of the aromatic character of white wines. Boosted by innovations in the cellar, in the form of temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, it became possible to produce wine of a reliable quality on an industrial scale. The chapter argues that while the KWV criticised the merchants, they worked with selected farmers to improve the quality of the wine. This was true of Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery (SFW) and Distillers. The greater costs involved, however, led many farmers to resort to selling their grapes to the cooperatives rather than making their own wine. The chapter focuses on specifc farms like Rustenberg where it is possible to precisely date the turn to cool femerntation The importance of brand development is underlined through an account of the meteoric wise of SFW’s Lieberstein, which was reputedly the world’s largest brand in the early 1960s.

Type
Chapter
Information
Race, Taste and the Grape
South African Wine from a Global Perspective
, pp. 105 - 127
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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